How to Build Muscle After 40
Building muscle ISN’T a young man’s game. What I mean by that is… our teens – or even in some cases our early twenties – ISN’T the easiest time to build muscle, for a number of reasons.
For one, our metabolism is too fast, and two we’re much more active. Our lives are consumed by sports and chasing girls (sometimes literally chasing girls). We burn more calories on a daily basis partially because we’re much more active when we’re in school, but also because our metabolisms are as high as they’ll ever be. While we may want it more, we’re too stubborn to slow down, recover, and train in a way that’ll get us the muscle we want.
As we get older gaining mass gets easier – whether that mass is muscle or fat is completely up to you. When I run into guys I went to high school with, they’re all bigger than they were in high school or college. The vast majority are fatter, too – I’d say 95%. This is because their schedules and their metabolisms have slowed. They have more stress now than they did in college, and more things pulling them away from the gym, and pulling them towards a Twinkie or a burger. I find it much easier to gain mass today than I did in college for those same reasons, I’ve just chosen to have that mass remain lean.
The obstacles we run into as we age regard our priorities and our hormones. We have the capacity to gain mass, we just don’t have the time, the discipline, or the desire we once had. I mean, why gain muscle mass when we’re already married, have kids, and we know that the bodybuilder look is far from a desireable physique? So we focus on fat loss and cardio rather than lifting heavy weights, and we see in increase in skinny fat men in their late 30’s and 40’s.
Why You Should Lift Weights As You Age
Men are warriors. For thousands of years we’ve been maintaining a certain physical condition. We were hunter-gatherers for thousands of years. We’ve been lazy and fat for decades – maybe hundreds of years. Being in great physical condition is in our DNA. We were warriors facing death in hand-to-hand combat long before we ever had the opportunity to sit on our asses and watch TV.
Men are supposed to be in great shape. A man is a warrior. Apart from that, doing some form of resistence training will serve as a fountain of youth of sorts. It keeps us strong, and our bodies young. Lifting weights helps us burn fat, lower fat levels correlate to higher testosterone levels. Resistance training also correlates to more energy and a greater quality of life. We’re more vibrant, healthy, and active when we’re, well, active.
How to Gain Lean Muscle After 40
As we age, the trick starts to be lean mass, not just mass gains. The following tricks will help you in your fight to gain lean muscle after as you enter your 40’s.
1. Start with the diet.
Focus the majority of your carbohydrates before and after your workout. This will help keep your gains lean. But make sure you’re eating enough as well. You can’t gain muscle if you’re not eating enough food.
Diet will also effect you hormonally. Men need testosterone for a host of reasons, one of them being the fact that healthy T levels help us build lean muscle. Read “How to Naturally Raise Testosterone in Men” to learn how to elevate your T levels in a natural, healthy manner.
Enjoy life, but do it in moderation. I drink a alcohol, and I’m not willing to cut it out of my life. I am willing to consume it in moderation. This means no more than 3 glass at any time. It usually means having wine over beer – although when I have beer I keep it to a max of two a day. Beer is not only estrogenous (raises estrogen in men), but packed full of empty calories that will turn to fat and take away from our lean gains.
2. Train on the weekends or at lunch.
Yes, the weekends are your time to unwind, take your kids to their sports, and watch football. It’s also the best time to train for busy, family men. You’re guaranteed to get a workout in if you plan it right. Lift first thing in the morning on Saturday and Sunday. Your workouts don’t need to be longer than 45-minutes. Have your training week start on Saturday rather than everyone else’s start of Monday.
The two other workouts need to be planned and set in stone. Time is one of the biggest obstacles to guys with families and careers. So know when you’re going to have time. That might mean lifting at lunch, in the morning before work, or immediately after work (never go home after work, always go straight to the gym). It all depends on your schedule, but it needs to be set in stone every week. These aren’t flexible workout days. They happen rain or shine, deadline at work to reach or not. Train, and train hard.
3. Don’t lift your age.
When I head to a gym and see a guy in his 40’s training, he’s usually doing an older guy’s workout. He’s lifting light weights, not really pushing himself to train harder or lift more. He’s also usually ending his workout – or starting it – on the treadmill.
Train like you did when you were 25. Lift hard and train with a focus on improving every time you’re in the gym. I do see guys in their 40’s and 50’s who are in epic shape, they’re ripped and jacked. They’re also lifting harder than the young guys. What you do shouldn’t change as you age.
4. Stretch and take care of your muscles.
Injuries become a bit more frequent as we age. Make sure you take care of your shoulders, them and your elbows are the areas that’ll see the most damage – check out “Fix My Shoulder Pain” for a good program to maintain joint health. Also, make sure you stretch for 15 minutes after every workout. Young guys should do this too, but they tend to a bit more than the older guys. With age comes wisdom, but also stubbornness. Try new things to create an evolved you.
It is possible to gain muscle after the age of 40. Time is a big obstacle, but one that can defeated. Where many get into trouble is thinking that with age brings a new set of rules. The reality is, there shouldn’t be. You should still lift hard and lift heavy. Your workouts DON’T need to last longer than 40 minutes to see serious gains, especially with the slowing metabolism and increased need for recovery.
If you’re entering your late 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, or even 60’s and you want to start – yes, start – building muscle, take a look at the following video. Just because you’ve been around a bit longer than the meathead’s in your gym, doesn’t mean your gains will come a different way. Hard work and intense training are still the prerequisite for muscle gains.